Finding the Right Camouflage Pattern
When selecting a camouflage pattern, it’s important to keep in mind how camouflage works, and your purpose for selecting the camouflage in the first place. Then, you can select the pattern that will work best for you.
How Camouflage Works
Camouflage has one main purpose: making you harder to see; however, it accomplishes this purpose in a number of ways.
Color matching (C): The first step to camouflage is wearing garments that are the same basic colors as your surroundings.
Pattern disruption (P): The next step in effectively camouflaging yourself is to break up your outline so those looking at you cannot pick out your true shape.
Optical illusion (O): Many modern camouflage patterns use a combination of sharp foreground objects and blurred background patterns to create an illusion of depth in the fabric—a 3D form of pattern disruption.
Realistic images (I): With modern digital printing techniques, modern camouflage fabric can be printed with images that realistically match the details of the environment where the user is trying to find concealment.
The Uses of Camouflage
There are many reasons why people want to use camouflage, including:
Big game hunting (B): When hunting big game such as deer or elk, you need to match the types of environments where the game is found, mostly woodlands.
Waterfowl hunting (W): Similarly, when you’re hunting waterfowl, you want to match the environments where the fowl are found, such as grassy marshlands.
Airsoft and other tactical games (A): To participate in this fun hobby, you want a different style of camouflage pattern that is more color-matched to your surroundings because people have excellent color vision.
Decorative (D): Camouflage patterns are now considered so attractive that they are often used for decorative purposes in bedspreads, bath décor, swimwear, and more.
Selecting the Right Camouflage Pattern
Below are some basic descriptions of a few representative camouflage patterns with their camouflage strategies and potential uses.
Mossy Oak New Break Up is a popular pattern improving Mossy Oak’s original Break Up pattern, one of the first to utilize 3D shadowing effects. C, P, O, I, B, A, D
Mossy Oak Treestand is designed specifically for treestand hunters who spend their time in the tree blinds, with colors and vertical lines designed to match the background of bare trees. C, P, O, I, B, D
Realtree Max 4 is designed to offer a versatile solution for people who hunt in open, grassy terrain, including, but not limited to, marshlands. It uses a variety of grasses, from cattails to corn stalks, so hunters can find concealment in grasslands, deserts, and more. C, P, O, I, B, W, A, D
Realtree AP is intended to be an all-purpose pattern, allowing you to hide, according to the manufacturer, “everywhere a hunter needs to hide.” C, P, O, I, B, A, D
ASAT or All Season All Terrain camouflage intends to be a simpler solution to the basic problems of camouflage by emphasizing the basic patterns that can make it hard for game to identify the human form. P, B, W
Browning Buckmark is not intended to be a true camouflage pattern, it’s primarily decorative, utilizing the iconic and attractive Buckmark logo. P, D
Bone Collector is another primarily decorative pattern based on the logo of the popular hunting show. P, D
Seclusion 3D Blaze is a pattern that attempts to give a powerful solution to the paradox of modern safe hunting practices: you want to be visible to hunters but invisible to game. This pattern incorporates many of the elements of true camouflage, but places them against a bright orange background, helping you to meet the law’s requirement to wear orange without exposing yourself to game. P, O, I, B, W
These are, of course, only a few of the camouflage patterns available for consideration. Since the private camouflage market opened up in the mid-1980s, literally hundreds of patterns have been developed, refined, and even retired in favor of new alternatives.